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Sunday, February 2, 2014

I have it all under control - - - NOT!

Ever get that eerie impression of "being watched"?  You know, when you find yourself looking over your shoulder, trying to see who may be seeing you at this very moment - almost a subtle form of paranoia brewing inside...  Well if you have found yourself with this "feeling", you are probably right!  There are people watching your every move, but you may not even realize it!  What happens to you and I in the midst of crisis is sometimes a matter of "observation" by others - watching, waiting just to see if we will fall apart or keep it all together.  When we actually rise above the crisis, it doesn't escape their view!  When we see another struggling with a crisis of their own, stepping in quickly to render aid, do you think it escapes the view of others? Even if you think you have done it in secret, at least one other person sees the action - God himself.  

If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place. Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help.  If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,”will that get you off the hook?  Someone is watching you closely, you know—someone not impressed with weak excuses.  (Proverbs 24:10-12 MSG)

What makes someone fall to pieces in the midst of a crisis?  Well, if we were honest, it probably stems from a root of pride.  You see, pride keeps us from asking for the help we really need.  It centers us on our own strengths and abilities to figure out a solution to the problem.  There is a bull-headedness which refuses to admit we cannot stand alone.  So, when the crisis comes, we head into it with every intention of "showing it whose really boss" and then we wonder why we fall.  It probably is because the crisis was designed specifically to allow us to see who is "really boss" in our lives!  It isn't God - so every crisis we head into with "us" as the boss is one more opportunity for him to help us recognize this important fact!  Pride keeps us from connecting with God and with others as we desperately need to.  It drives us AWAY from relationship, not toward it.  

I am speaking from experience here, my friends.  There is nothing as hard to do than face crisis with the wrong "boss" in control of the movements we take in the midst of the crisis.  Several years ago, as a much younger woman, I faced the need for some surgery for what appeared to be a couple years of worsening test results.  There was suspicion of the dreaded "cancer" diagnosis and I was a single mother with two young teens.  In the stubbornness of my pride, I walked alone through that crisis - right up until the time I went into the OR.  But...I honestly believe God heard my silent tears in the shower that morning, as I stood allowing the water to flow over my head, the tears streaming down freely, and my heart asking "why".  It was the why me, why now, why this kind of talk we all probably have at times.  Yet, the biggest why I think God wanted to answer was "why do I have to go through this alone".  

To be totally honest - I didn't want to be alone through it, but I had isolated myself so much from relationship after my divorce, I was indeed "walking alone".  Sure, I had acquaintances, but no one really "tight" I could just walk with through the scariness of the crisis.  I believe God wanted to show me this as that morning began to unfold, for within minutes of arriving in the hospital for my scheduled surgery, a fellow pastor and his wife were at my bedside, holding the hand of my daughter, loving on my mom, and praying over me for God's peace to fill me as I went into the OR.  I saw first-hand how much I had been presenting the "image" of being able to "manage my crisis", but they saw the reality of me not managing so well!  Thank goodness God knows us better than we know ourselves!  A few hours later, the procedure was over, I was recovering in my room, and all was at peace in my world. That day stood as a turning point for me.  In just one brief act on the part of two people I had no idea were "watching me" and recognized my need, God began to turn my world around.

The next time I had to face the dreaded possibility of cancer when I was diagnosed with a fast growing thyroid tumor, I had friends at the ready to help me walk through the crisis.  This time, I was not going in under my own strength, because my strength was faltering terribly.  It was theirs and God's which bolstered my faith, renewed my determination, and kept me positively focused through it all.  You know something - some of those closest friends weren't even believers, but they knew my faith and they were consistently pointing me toward my center (Jesus), even when I was coming unraveled and losing focus!  They had been watching when the crisis wasn't there - so they knew where to point me when the crisis came!  People will see us, how we respond, what we do with what we know, and how we handle life's challenges. They ARE watching - our testimony matters.

We may undervalue the importance of how much pride keeps us from relationships which matter - especially those who will speak life into the midst of our crisis.  We may not realize how many are watching when we aren't faced with challenges outside of our ability to handle - but they are.  We may think there is no hope in the midst of the crisis - but you never really know who will come alongside to help "center you" on the one who really matters in the midst of it all.  Just sayin!